On the defensive about the value of its pricey cholesterol medicine, Amgen (AMGN) released a new study that argues its treatment is cost effective at about $9,700 a year, which is closely in line with the existing price tag — after discounts and rebates are subtracted from the $14,000 list price.

This contrasts, however, with the $4,200 price point that a group of academics suggested in their own analysis, which was released earlier this week. In their view, the drug — an injectable medicine known as Repatha — should be marked down by roughly two-thirds off the list price to be seen as a good value. Their analysis was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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  • (Note: I do not have access to the full article; this point may have been addressed. Regardless, the opening to this piece is misleading.)

    The first paragraphs of this article indicate a wider discrepancy between price points for “good value” between the two analyses than the models actually found. The Amgen article uses a $150,000 benchmark for cost-effectiveness, while the Kazi article refers to a $100,000 QALY gained threshhold. At a willingness-to-pay of $150,000 to mirror the Amgen results, Kazi’s model returns a ~$6K price point in the indication of HF and ~$7K for atherosclerotic disease. Granted, these are lower than the $9,699 price point found in the Amgen model, but they are a good deal higher than the $4,500 price you cite when you compare the price for value as defined by disparate threshholds.

    • Hi Kate,

      Thanks for the note. While I did not delve into the differing QALY specifics, I did include this line further down the piece:

      “Both of the latest analyses used slightly different benchmarks for determining cost effectiveness.”

      I understand your point, however, that the differing benchmarks can lead to different price ranges and should have noted that more explicitly.

      While I’m here – what do you think of the differing assessments?

      Regards,
      ed at pharmalot